mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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mooretrees
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mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Feb 15, 2019

Hi all. While I was waiting for my account to be approved I wrote some initial journal entries (my account was approved, but I didn't feel like writing new entries so the dates will be weird looking). I’m reading several journals (rereading Jason’s as it’s so dirty and fun) and rereading the ERE book (I tend to skim books so I figured a reread was in order) and stewing and stewing over ER/FI. I found MMM some time ago and rejected him out of hand-totally fitting in with the Wheaton table; he was too advanced for me at that time.

Months passed from my introduction to MMM and I found myself sinking financially. Every paycheck took too long to get to us, and I kept dipping into our small savings to tide us over. I had no clue why we were struggling to pay for stuff so I started tracking money. Several months into tracking money (pen and paper, Mint doesn’t recognize our credit union) I started reading MMM again. I could finally understand some of what he was saying. Slowly, I started fiddling with our expenses, attacking the grocery bill first. Change happened when I started volunteering to go shopping and choose a different grocery store. I put my son into his bike trailer and biked to the store for the first time since moving to our small town. It was so hard! I still am outta shape but making progress. That ride to the store is easier now.

Who we are:
DH: 46 and stay at home dad. He’s a jack of all trades. He can do brick work (he installed our woodstove on the hearth he designed and built), electrical, car repair, bike repair and building, basic carpentry and a bunch of other stuff.

Me: 42, salarywoman, can cook and sorta garden, very few practical skills otherwise and often a serious lack of patience with learning physical skills.

We met in our late 30’s as fairly poor, liberal bicyclists in the Pacific NW. I decided I wanted a career and pursued a second degree to work in a hospital laboratory. I got that degree and 30k in debt and we moved to a LCOL area so I could work at a small hospital. Some typically bad middle class decisions followed: house without 20% down, a car loan, and a baby-not a bad decision at all! And I discovered Dave Ramsey. So, the last four or so years I’ve been paying down loans smallest first for the whole snowball journey. Oh, DH had about $65k in debt. Ramsey worked for us, but then we started sliding into spending the whole paycheck and now I’ve gotten a little cra-cra over getting out of debt and figuring out a different way to live.

I don’t really understand a lot of the ERE book, systems theory is sorta lot of abstract words for me at this point. But I take heart that in time it will make more sense, especially if I keep banging my head against it.

The numbers:
Debt:
House: $128,000
Student Loans: $24000 or so
Car loan: $6400
CC gets paid off monthly or as we use it.

Income:
Me: $75,000 gross
DH: $5000 (he works part-time at a plant nursery where he can bring our son- pretty ideal situation. Lots of neat people, animals and healthy dirt.)

Some big changes ahead of us include:
Renovating our basement room and attached bathroom to rent out
Selling our Fit (not much movement on Craigslist as it’s the winter and we’re in a truck/subaru heavy area)

We’re flirting with groceries under $500/month but can’t seem to get any lower. I think we eat too much meat and not enough cheap bread and pasta. And I don’t want to eat a lot of carbs so…. Not sure how to lower it more. I welcome ideas. I mean I love the shit out of bread and will gorge myself on it and then watch the scale get bigger. So, since I don’t want to be fat and I can’t seem to moderate carbs I stay away from them.

We’ve both switched either our phone plans or carriers but still pay around $67/month for phones. I’ve been ruminating over getting rid of it entirely as I’m sick of what I see with phones in peoples faces all the time, but…...it would be a little difficult and I’m worried about some pushback from loved ones. I am most definitely not the classic INJT or whatever the predominant type is around here. Extrovert for sure, and not clear about the rest. So, I do care a little too much about my people getting mad at me…..

Our biggest expenses are the classic ones: housing (around $1300 with mortgage and utilities), debt and cars. I’ll post a more complete breakdown in a bit.

My goals are to be out of student loan/car debt this year; totally possible especially if we sell the damn car soon and get a roommate. DH doesn’t think about money at all, but he’s on board with getting out of debt because 1. I’ll be easier to live with, 2. We can start saving/planning for an epic motorcycle trip to Alaska.

Other goals include learning five local birds, learning and implementing permaculture design into our garden, and learning about investing. I don’t really know much about investing or real estate so either could be the direction we go for making money. I felt so much relief when I read that Jacob saved for four years before investing. I was feeling pressure to make big decisions about investing the money that should be available once our debt is gone, but now I can just relax and save and learn. I mean, later this year I can do that relaxing and saving. Now I’m off to play with the kiddo.
Last edited by mooretrees on Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gilberto de Piento
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Post by Gilberto de Piento »

And I discovered Dave Ramsey. So, the last four or so years I’ve been paying down loans smallest first for the whole snowball journey.
Welcome! Dave helped me get out of debt too. He's kind of a blowhard (he's the Rush Limbaugh of personal finance in my opinion) but I used to listen to his podcast while I was doing chores and it helped keep me motivated about paying off my loans as fast as possible. Good luck with your loans! It's worth the effort.

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Dream of Freedom
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Post by Dream of Freedom »

The bread (Glycemic index 73) might be cheap calories but it also spikes insulin more than table sugar (Glycemic index 65). Since insulin makes you hungry whatever gains you make in calorie/$
you lose with over consumption. You are better off eating something with a lot of protein and fat that satiate you quickly. Eggs are cheap, bacon can be gotten cheap if you buy the package with assorted sizes. Hamburger and liver are good options too.
Last edited by Dream of Freedom on Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

prognastat
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Post by prognastat »

Welcome to the forums.

It's good that your husband is a bit of a handyman around the house, that can save a lot of money by avoiding a bunch of labour costs.

Food:
Buying in bulk and sale helps a lot. Since I'm following a keto diet I avoid carbs myself and it definitely makes cutting food costs harder. If I'm very careful though I can manage to get mine down to about $100 a month for 1 person, but this is without any extra snacks or eating out. Since this is for an adult male that works out 5-7 days a week I would venture that it should be possible for almost anyone to live off the amount of food I eat. Some things I do to cut cost are buy things like 10 lbs bags of chicken leg quarters and use this to make me meals for a whole week bringing down the cost of meat in my diet(chicken leg quarters tend to be the best value cut of chicken) If I buy something else for the week it's generally going to be because it went on sale and isn't much more expensive than chicken would be. I also tend to buy store brand unless there is a sale on the brand versions that makes it cheaper. There's some substitutions you can make to cut costs too, for example if a recipe calls for bacon but it's going to be cut up/broken up you can get ends and pieces which are cheaper because they aren't pretty slices. Or instead of butter you can often get away with using lard or shortening in many recipes.

Cellphones:
There are some cellphone services that could get your cost to below $20 per line or even free depending on how much you use them. I switched to Freedompop's free plan and so far it has worked for me, but it also means I actively have to avoid using my phone while not on WiFi to preserve the service for when I really need it. I think it's been good for my cellphone habits though decreasing screen time. Some people go straight for dumb phones and a prepaid contract leading to almost no cost too, but I do have use for some of the smartphone functionality not provided by dumb phones.

bigato
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Post by bigato »

Bread or meat? What about vegetables?

mooretrees
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Post by mooretrees »

Thanks all for your responses.

@Gil Dave Ramsey really helped me believe I could get out of debt which was HUGE for me. And especially once I learned how much debt DH had. For some reason I never asked when we were dating and it was quite a shock to realize he was $66k in the hole.

Since February, we got our tax return and I paid off one more loan. We’re now right at $19038. So, big progress for us. Which is great, but damn am I ever tired of celebrating getting that much closer to being outta debt. I want to celebrate getting close to $100k and so on. It’s gonna happen soon.

@prog
Thanks for the suggestions about chicken thighs. DH actually prefers dark meat to breast, and I don’t care too much either way. I haven’t really gotten super focused on getting the grocery bill really low, maybe that can be my goal this month.

DH dropped his cell phone plan down $10: month, so we’re around $57/ month now. I have toyed with the idea of a dumb phone, but I have an older iPhone that I think I could use for a bit while I sell the newer one and acclimate to the idea of a dumb phone. When I went back to school I could tell my ability to focus had been negatively affected by having a smart phone. So I got rid of it. And then, got a smart phone a year or so after graduation. So, I did it once and I could do it again.

Jason
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Post by Jason »

I like Dave Ramsey. I still listen to him for both inspiration and to get my voyeuristic fix. Bad personal debt, no matter the individual circumstances, always has a bad personal math component. And he does have some latent ERE messages - questioning pursuit of higher education, anti-consumerism.

But I think once you get out of debt, his relevance ends because I think he's weak on investing. His stock market forecasting seems over-optimistic to the point of being misrepresentative. At the point you begin to go in the opposite direction, you can move on to JD Collins or someone like him.

Which raises the question, do you have to get to zero debt before investing? I mean 20K in the Dave Ramsey Demographic is like being a member of the 1%.

mooretrees
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Post by mooretrees »

@bigato we do eat a lot of veggies, low glycemic index ones like the brassica family.

@dof I freaking love eggs! I could eat them twice a day. Thanks for your response, I think that whole insulin spike = increased eating is right, I hadn't thought about it that particular way you wrote. Makes sense and I do think if I'm focused, we can eat mostly keto and keep the food budget low. I am still nursing my son, so all the research says to not go hard care keto until I'm not nursing anymore. But, he's old enough and eats a varied diet so that I'm not anywhere close to his main food source like when he was much younger. I can't give up my Sunday Dutch Babies (German pancakes), at least not yet.

@Jason I agree about Ramsey's limitations, and I always felt he had a bit a game show host in him. And he laughs so hard at his own jokes that I wavered between amusement and irritation over that. I've stopped listening to him and have read some of JD Collins. I think I'm such a noob about investing, that I want to save our money and learn about investing and/or real estate before I throw all of our money in one area.

I am lightly investing, as I do have a 401k with about $27 k in mostly Vanguard 'aggressive' funds. I am also thinking that once I get the car sold and the last two student loans paid off, I'll start saving more aggressively. The last loan I have is a no interest loan with my Dad, so while I do want to pay that off, I don't feel like I need to have that one paid off before switching gears to saving and paying the mortgage down.

Also, I'm getting myself wound up by the 'looming retirement crisis' and want to increase our cash holdings. We've been running the last few years with only $1000 in our savings. It hasn't worried me to be that low, but I think I'll bump it up $3k this year, just to be safe.

Jason
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Post by Jason »

Someone needs to delineate the time contrasts that something can "loom," because this retirement crisis has been "looming" for a long time and I have, as of yet, been accosted by an entitled David Crosbyesque looking baby boomer with a tin cup. Although I admittedly am looking forward to it because I fucking loathe David Crosby and just would take the opportunity to piss in his or someone who just looks like him tin cup.

Frita
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Post by Frita »

Welcome! All we can do is take an honest look at where we are and start there. As I figure one thing out, I have other things to work on.

For a family of three (including a 14 year old boy), we spend $150/month on food with another $50 on going out. (I do eat lunch at work 5 days/week and end up bringing my milk home on an ice pack, off course.) A few things not mentioned:
• Drink lots of water.
• Eat beans, dried peas, and whole grains (I eat oatmeal—bulk rolled oats or steel cut everyday. My family actually prefers some veg dishes like lentil sloppy joes to the meat version.) An old-fashioned pressure cooker is makes it easy.
• Render fat from meat to use later, especially when buying high-quality. Store in the fridge.
• Use bones to make bone broth. (You can freeze to use for sauces, soups, etc.)
• Use veggies scraps for broth.
• Compost.
• Preserve what you grow in your garden to enjoy yearlong.
• Eat lots of veg and some fruit. Buy what’s in season.
• Avoid prepacked stuff. It’s expensive and not always very healthy.
• Consider white flour stuff as a treat. Eat very little and enjoy the best. Bake your own and experiment blending other grain/nut flours.

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Lemur
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Post by Lemur »

Welcome new member...tackle the big 4: Housing, Transportation, Food, Debt

Debt: Seems you already know what you need to do here.

Housing: $1,300 including mortgage + utilities is $650.00 per person. Not terrible but a roommate would definitely help drive costs down. What is your commute distance to work?

Transportation: Drop vehicles if possible. If not possible, consider moving closer to work.

Food: You've been given advice here. Figure out your current budget and start figuring out how to cut it down. Slow approach - set your budget at $450 for a month...than $400...than $350. What I think you outta do is just make a list of these bulk foods: Rice, Beans, Lentils, Oats, Pasta, Cheapest Meat you Can Find, Fruits/veggies on sale. Buy nothing else. Will certainly go a long way.

mooretrees
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Post by mooretrees »

Thanks Lemur and Frita.

DH and I had a meeting tonight. Well, I sat on him and he nodded at things I said. So, we agreed to try and keep groceries under $400 this month. We've already spent about $120 so far.

I've got peas, spinach and arugula started in the raised beds and will start more seeds indoors this week. This won't impact our food budget until next month at the earliest, but it is fun and feels good to be outside.

As far as the car situation, I walk to work. It's just a few blocks away. DH has a very part-time job that he should be able to start riding his motorcycle too. We have two cars, a newer Honda Fit with a car loan and a 1985 Suburban (that's paid off). We've listed the Fit twice in the last year or so but haven't had luck selling it. We've got it cleaned up again and once we return from our Cali trip in two weeks we will list it once again. I think spring is a better time to sell it? Anyway, I'm trying to get the car expenses down by down sizing to one. Likely we'll buy another car once the debt is gone and we can pay cash for it. We use the suburban as our wood hauling truck as we cut firewood. There is a chance we can do a truck share with a neighbor who also wants a pickup for wood and hunting. I think I want to get rid of the Fit and the car loan first and then figure out where we're going with our car situation.

Our favorite car to date (we've gone through a few beaters) was a 1987 Honda Real Time. $1400 with 150k miles, amazing visibility, great clearance for a rural area and snow, 30 + mpg, and fun to drive. It overheated one day out of the blue and was never the same. Anyway, I digress.

Housing: we're renovating our basement room that has an egress window and full bath attached. We plan on renting it to temporary hospital employees once it is ready. Folks like classical_liberal who are only working for a few months. DH wasn't really excited about a full time rental. He is on board with temporary renters as he values his privacy. We've had renters here in the past, the last one was sort of a dud and soured us a little bit. But, with temporary renters if someone isn't a good fit, well, we'll only have to put up with them for a few months. Anyway, addressing the housing expense is in the works, though it will likely take a few months to finish the basement.

I'll post soon about our breakdown of expenses, lots of areas to improve I'm sure.

mooretrees
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Post by mooretrees »

I read most of classical_liberal's journal and then gin+juice two nights ago. I had a hard time falling asleep that night. I got swept up in the semi-ERE idea. It was like I'd just drank five espressos on an empty stomach. So much excitement!!! Without the stomach ache. But it was hard to wake up early the next day.

Why I like semi-ERE:One, it seems so much closer to achieving. I don't want to wait til I have a HUGE amount invested (plus, it's hard to imagine we'll be able to save/invest so much), I want more free time to poke around in the garden, take my boy on small adventures and have a slower pace of life. Two: I get some benefits out of my job that I enjoy: social time, I can help save lives, some interesting challenges.

I've been semi-retired before. During my 20's I worked very part time and traveled abroad some. It was a good sweet period, but I got a little bored with the work. Reflecting on that period of part-time work, I realize I liked how I was able to structure some parts of my life. I could make pasta from scratch and feed roommates in an impromptu party. I could bike everywhere and hang with people at all sorts of times. The down side of all that free time was I got a little aimless. Making pasta can only happen so many times. So, partly why I think the semi-ERE appeals to me is that I could have a slower pace with time to can, garden, help friends out, but still have some benefits of the job. I am definitely an extrovert. DH is not. I've made some friends at work that I enjoy seeing regularly. Also, I think I need the external structure a job provides. I don't need 40 hours of it, but 20 might be a sweet spot. Anyway, some of this is pure daydreaming of something different.

I think I'm somewhere between a 1/2 on the Wheaton scale. I talked with DH about adding a bit extra to the mortgage tonight. He's generally happy to let me make decisions about money. I think we haven't changed enough regarding wanting things and spending more money than we need due to plain ol' consumer driven desires. So, until we're hardened against consumerist tendencies, I think automating good decisions like the HSA taken directly out of my paycheck, or an overpayment to the mortgage make a lot of sense.

Money related stuff:

DH made some progress on the basement room remodel. It's a down-to-the-studs sorta remodel. I've helped a teensy-tiny bit. The wood paneling is gone from all of the walls, he's got the electrical boxes for the outlets in place. He's replaced most of the 2x2's with 2x4's so we can put in insulation (both for heat and sound proofing for us). He has a few more 2x4s to replace and then the electrical is next. He doesn't love doing electrical work and it is always hard to gauge how quickly projects will progress. But, I have three days off starting Friday, so hopefully he'll make progress on the electrical work.

I made a $300 extra payment on his last student loan. I could have made a larger payment, but I'm keeping some money aside because I think we'll be spending some money on graphic design work for our farmers market coffee cart. More on that later.

Haven't been grocery shopping and am going to try and clear some old dried goods this week to help reach our $400 food budget.

mooretrees
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Post by mooretrees »

Just returned from a week in mostly sunny California visiting in-laws and celebrating my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. So many thoughts after a week with family. Oh family. I'm really happy to be home and with our critters.

We did a fantastic job not spending money while on vacation. Partly because we were with parents who showered us with dinners and groceries. Partly because I didn't want to spend money and worked to avoid the temptations ever present at Target, and partly because we were straight-up BUSY swimming, playing games, visiting the Safari Park and hanging with family.

We stayed with my in-laws for a few nights and wow, do they ever have a ton of stuff! It's crazy how much they have crammed into their house. And it's not nice stuff, it's plastic toys and action figurines, 40 + flashlights (long story), jello molds, Mexican pottery (those are actually lovely but made with lead paint), DVD's, records, books and a gazillion knick knacks that are broken and old. Everyone of them is a dear friend to my in-laws. I've talked with them over the years about preparing for getting older (they are in their mid-70's) and each time it falls on deaf ears.

They also revealed that they spend $80k on what??? Their mortgage is paid off, they have Prop 8 property taxes (something about their property taxes can't increase by more than 1%/year, I think?), they rarely eat out, they shop (a lot) mostly at Goodwill and Costco, and they don't travel. They didn't know where their money was going, and didn't seem too concerned. Anyway, I stopped asking questions after a bit, because their answers weren't explaining where all that money was going. Weird.

I'm still figuring out my in-laws. They confuse me. They are lovely and volunteer and seemingly modest (at least until I found how much money they are wasting), but they also LOVE to consume. Endless amounts of super shitty toys and weird blackjack games (small plastic games), and they get so excited by things that seems so silly to me. They seem to love shopping. I've never liked shopping, which hasn't stopped me from doing it, but this new focus on money is highlighting behaviors I don't want to mimic.

Our goal was to spend less than $400 on food this month, right now we're at $404 with a week to go. We did a big shopping trip at a WinCo in Boise on our way back from the airport. We stocked up on beans, oats, TP, veggies and cheese. We forgot eggs, dammnit! I hope to keep the groceries under $10 for the next week, just eggs and some greens. So, while we won't hit the goal, we have made big progress and I have a lot of staples for next month. Also, chicken thighs were on sale the week before we left so I got two big packs! We have a bunch of meat in the freezer and with all the beans, peas and oats, we should be able to eat down the pantry next month.

classical_Liberal
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by classical_Liberal »

mooretrees wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:09 pm
I read most of classical_liberal's journal and then gin+juice two nights ago. I had a hard time falling asleep that night. I got swept up in the semi-ERE idea. It was like I'd just drank five espressos on an empty stomach. So much excitement!!! Without the stomach ache. But it was hard to wake up early the next day.
I'm honored! There was a person on MMM who did traveling lab work for Semi-ERE. It was the standard 13 week contracts and he did one or two a year, something like that might be an interesting option if you like all-on/all-off. I'm not sure how many opportunities for contracts you would have locally though, I suppose it depends if you are in an urban center in the PNW.

I think the spending/consumerism thing is weird. Once you get out of the mindset, spending money often seems like more of a hassle than it's worth. I feel like at some point in the last five years it just hit me and my mindset completely changed. Almost like there is a contemplation phase and once the decision is made to change it happens more than effortlessly, like most things actually become easier when you spend less. From there its a downhill slide until you start reaching extreme frugality. I would say that is around 15-20K per person/year. I'm at the point now where less spending seems like quite a bit of work, but then again maybe I can't see past my Wheaton level. However, others on my jopurnal have commented that getting below where I'm at begins to take some concerted effort.

In any event, good luck in your journey!

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Post by jacob »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:05 am
I would say that is around 15-20K per person/year. I'm at the point now where less spending seems like quite a bit of work, but then again maybe I can't see past my Wheaton level.
I think so. Recall that most of "the work" is upfront learning how to do it. (Investing is a good example.) From where I stand, spending 15-20k/year, which is 2-3x as much as I spend now, seems like a lot of work because I never learned how to do it---I have literally never in my life spent that much---but I'm sure that a few years of intensive studying combined with lifestyle changes that from my present perspective seem "too extreme" that I could learn it.

Just like people naively see spending less as cutting away things they currently buy, I naively see spending more as just doubling or tripling up what I currently buy. Yet intellectually, I know that the difference is more complex than that. People who spend 3x more on food than me are not buying 3x more beans and vegetables than me. They're buying and eating differently. It's not a trivial difference in degree. It's a non-trivial difference in kind.

It's easy to take for granted what one already knows and consumers do know non-trivial things. It's apparent [to me] because I have not been a consumer for almost two decades now and so there are things that everybody over the age of 13 knows but which I'm largely ignorant about. For example, I have never used a credit card with a chip or a tap in a store (I always use cash in person). I'm the smart-phone equivalent of this. I've yet to fill my first tank of gas in a car (if I ever start driving, I should probably move to Oregon---here I use the same reasoning that some use when they say they have to leave NYC in order to be frugal). Give me N random ingredients and I can cook something good out of them, but give me a menu in a restaurant and I'm always surprised and disappointed at what is eventually served (this is why I prefer menus with pictures or buffets :-P ). There are also things that should be easy but would be mentally hard. For example, I would have to learn to throw out almost half the food I buy, like a normal person. I'd have to buy food from the middle of the supermarket---something I normally consider flyover territory---where the ready-made foods reside... and I'd be faced with the restaurant problem again: Will there be enough to eat? How much is actually in the box? Better buy extra? There are many things where I would have to get over my natural impulse to just spend 5 minutes DIY'ing a solution and instead get in my car (which I'd have to buy and get a license for and eventually learn to refill the tank, also see sticking points) and drive over to Kroger and pay 4x as much for something in a colorful packaging which I would then have to throw away while trying to forget about the landfill it's going to end up in.

It actually seems rather overwhelming.

Gilberto de Piento
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Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Housing: we're renovating our basement room that has an egress window and full bath attached. We plan on renting it to temporary hospital employees once it is ready. Folks like classical_liberal who are only working for a few months. DH wasn't really excited about a full time rental. He is on board with temporary renters as he values his privacy. We've had renters here in the past, the last one was sort of a dud and soured us a little bit. But, with temporary renters if someone isn't a good fit, well, we'll only have to put up with them for a few months. Anyway, addressing the housing expense is in the works, though it will likely take a few months to finish the basement.
I used to rent out a room to temporary renters. It worked out well for me for exactly the same reasons you are interested in it. Some of them were hospital employees. I had a surgeon in training once, he was great, he only came home to sleep.

I used to watch craigslist for people who wanted temporary housing. If they seemed normal in the ad and had a good reason why they were temporary (professor, medical worker, etc.) I would contact them. I left money on the table when the room was empty but I think this method saved me from the back and forth of answering my own ad and having to reject people.

Jason
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by Jason »

mooretrees wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:59 pm
I'm still figuring out my in-laws. They confuse me.
As an FYI - they will die before you figure them out. Just be thankful you like them. Consumerism is not things, it's a lifestyle. And there is no intervention at this point. Let them ride it out and when you are with them in the midst of their stupid store bought shit, instead of attempting to change them, estimate the yard size of the dumpster that will be needed to empty the place out and if there's anything of any re-sale value.

mooretrees
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by mooretrees »

@c-l

I get the sense that I'm still in the contemplating stage you talked about, but I can sense a shift internally to consuming less. It is starting to seem like a bother to go to the store to fix some problem. For example, my Dad wanted to make his famous pancakes while in Cali, and just had to have an electric griddle to do it. We had to go to two stores to find one, when we had two perfectly functional pans and access to more pans to cook the pancakes on in the condo. So, we could have solved the pancake cooking problem (make a large enough volume for all the family) without going to two stores. But, it wasn't my call and I assume my mom would have resisted any suggestions besides the electric griddle as she wouldn't have wanted to go against what my Dad wanted. The go to the store solution was easier (in her mind) than figuring it out on the fly.

@Jacob

I love hearing your perspective on spending. I can see/believe that in the near future I'll be closer to your approach to money and problems, but I have some BIG strides to make. The biggest change I've noticed in myself is due to somewhat adopting your rules to buying (I think from your blog?), especially considering the end result of whatever product, ie, not allowing myself to ignore where it will end up, or how quickly it might be trash. That concern with the full life of a product has caused me to move from considering a purchase to seeing the desire to buy something fade. I've tried writing a few lists of things I wanted and a month later two out of the three items I wasn't interested in anymore. The third was a watch, and I found an old one that needed a new battery. Anyway, what I'm saying is that change is happening internally and so as I continue to read the ERE book and engage on the forum, more change should come.

One line from the ERE book that has been floating in and out of my brain is "all effects can be considered goals." I've really started to think about this a lot, especially when I get a little lazy about something. Don't want to work out, well then my goal is actually to be weak because that is the effect of not exercising. And then I can't ignore that laziness and sorta internal dishonesty with myself.

@Jason I have totally mentally cased my in-laws house. Their style of living is not something I can change, and I've gotten better about just being quiet instead of making little judgey remarks. Cleaning up their house after they die is hopefully far into the future, but I know I'l be involved. A lot of what I'm trying to do now is get my little family less dependent on a single job so when the time comes for us to help them out, we'll be closer to being able to help. Doesn't mean I won't resent them as I figure out what to do with all of their shit. I guess I have time to work on accepting them?

classical_Liberal
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Re: First Journal Post

Post by classical_Liberal »

jacob wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:41 am
I think so. Recall that most of "the work" is upfront learning how to do it. (Investing is a good example.)
Hmmm. So my comments here are prefaced by the fact I'm a wheaton 4-6, dependent on the area of life. Mostly 4-5, although the ideas of flow have become much more important to me recently.

What I noticed, and my point to OP, is that the "work" to get from low to middle Wheaton levels is mostly mental. The skill involved is the ability to begin to think outside the box (blue pill if you will). Once a decision is made to change, time commitment (this being a critical factor) is actually reduced. Moving closer to work saves time and money. This is perfect for the salary man at Wheaton one, because both time and money are scarce.

Moving up the ladder towards your level, there is obviously a difference in kind (producer not optimizer?). However, production takes time, even after the skill is learned. A perfect example in my case is bread making. Several months ago I began baking my own bread. It took some time to hone the recipes, but now I can relatively easily whip-out 3 different breads from core ingredients. They are far superior in quality, taste, and health to store purchased at about 1/3 the cost. I even enjoy baking. Great, win-win! The problem is baking takes time. When time is scarce to a salary man, activities like this often take a back seat to other "more important" tasks. They also become just one more thing on the checklist to get done before work, so much of the pleasure is sapped out of the activity.

Once a salaryman (most people) reaches a certain Wheaton level, money no longer seems scarce, time still does. So it becomes a huge hurdle to further advancement. This is why I have become such a fan of Semi-ERE for folks who have reached this point. Free up some time and enjoyable producer tasks can get moved from the trunk into the front seat. But, for this to work, once has to have reached a point in which money is no longer viewed as a scarcity and more accumulation has diminishing returns vs producer mentality.

tldr; Initial steps from Wheaton one, moving from monetary scarcity to surplus, actually adds more to the time side of the equation as well. It's much harder to focus on relatively time intensive producer skills that only shift monetary flows by a few hundred dollars a year. In order to shift priorities one must balance money and time flows.

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